5 Ways To Enjoy The River Orwell

POSTED ON: 30/01/2019

Rediscover the lifeblood of Ipswich.


A unique fact about the River Orwell is that the people of Ipswich are the official owners of the riverbed; after Henry VIII gifted the Orwell to help traders and port-men go about their business. A favour from him to his right-hand man Cardinal Wolsey.

That was exactly 500 years ago, so in 2019 we think it's about time that YOU made the most of Ipswich's river; the beating heart of the town's maritime heritage and home to some wonderful things to do...

1. Board a River Cruise

1. Board a River Cruise


There are four operators offering wonderful boat trips from the Ipswich waterfront down the River Orwell as far as Felixstowe and Harwich:

Orwell Lady: Sunday Lunch and Afternoon Tea cruises and special themed cruises such as Eurovision Nights, Gin Cruises and Sunset Trips
Barge Victor: historic sailing barge offering wildlife cruises, sightseeing tours and buffet cruises.
Allen Gardiner: unique river cruise restaurant with a South African twist; serving breakfast, lunch and dinner whilst cruising down the orwell.
Topsail Charters: original Thames barge offering boat trips down the river. Also a contestant in the the famous 'Pin Mill Barge Race'

2. Go Sea Kayaking

2. Go Sea Kayaking


Join the friendly and experienced team at Nomad Sea Kayaking for trips and courses for all abilities; whether you're a pro kayaker or new to the activity! Don't miss their popular seal watching trips or New Year's Eve night-trip!

Click here to check out their upcoming trips, courses and open days

3. Visit Suffolk Food Hall

3. Visit Suffolk Food Hall


Visit Suffolk Food Hall and enjoy beautiful views of the Orwell Bridge whilst exploring the best Suffolk produce.

Then go for breakfast, lunch or dinner at The Cookhouse restaurant where you can eat delicious local meals with panoramic views across the river.

4. Get creative at The Pin Mill Studio

4. Get creative at The Pin Mill Studio


Just a short journey out of Ipswich is the magical little hamlet of Pin Mill; famous for it's photogenic bay, historic pub and literary connections.

Visit The Pin Mill Studio for their range of arts & crafts workshops plus award-winning photography courses with Photographic Day.

5. Book a room with a view

5. Book a room with a view


If you're visiting Ipswich or want to escape the town for a night or two, there are some unique and quirky places to stay along the River Orwell.

Live like a King in the historic six-storey Tudor Freston Tower, stay in a luxurious converted barn at Orwell View Barns (some with an outdoor hot-tub!) or a calming woodland cottage at Lodge Farm.


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